by John Armstrong Jr
Last week, I had the unique opportunity to serve in the nursery during the worship service. Most of you do that on a fairly regular basis, I on the other hand usually have other responsibilities, but I don’t take lightly the privilege of being able to care for the children in the nursery. By the way, I had a great time. With that, I would like to address child protection. Have you ever thought about what happens to those churches that go through some sort of incident involving children and abuse? It is not pretty, and for the sake of the kingdom, it is certainly something we want to avoid, if at all possible. We want all of our children to be safe and protected; which means we will need to take steps to ensure that is the case. A Child Protection Policy is something we as a church need to put in place in order to safeguard our children and child care ministry. This is something that has been a big topic of discussion within church circles and our own denomination for several years. At Faith Church, we have been talking about and developing a policy and have been wrestling with the best way to provide training for our care givers. There are all kinds of questions and issues that arise from this kind of thing. First you hear the “push back statements” like “We’ve never had to worry about that kind of thing before” or “That is something big churches need to worry about.” My question to those raising these kinds of objections is this, “Do you want to be the one to tell a parent whose child has been abused by someone at church that we didn’t have the proper safeguards in place because we’ve never had to worry about that kind of stuff before”? The Lord has equipped us with a love for and desire to protect our children so we need to do those things that make sense so we can ensure a safe environment. Nothing we do will be perfect, but if we do nothing we will be guilty of negligence.
So, I’m asking everyone in the congregation to approach this issue with a positive attitude that this is something that will be good for our church. If you have been in the nursery lately, you know that God has richly blessed us with an abundance of beautiful children. They are worth of our best efforts to provide a safe and nurturing environment when we gather as the people of God. I can’t tell you right now what changes we are going to make that will affect you directly if you participate in the blessing of caring for the children from time to time. I will say for sure we are going to be doing some training and establishing policies that will protect our children and our childcare providers. I do not need to tell you how important this is, it is pretty clear.